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Re: ringer in memory of a retired bishop?

On Thu, Aug 31, 2023 at 9:57 AM Laura Dickerson via Boston-change-ringers
boston-change-ringers cosmos phy tufts edu
<http://mailto:boston-change-ringers cosmos phy tufts edu> wrote:

Retired suffragan bishop (I have no idea what that adjective means)

A bishop suffragan (I think usage is about equally split between the
adjective coming first or second) is the more common type of “assistant
bishop.” He or she gets to do episcopal (bishoply) things, like ordain
priests and stuff, but doesn’t have the same administrative authority a
diocesan bishop does. And, more importantly, when the diocesan retires or
whatever, the suffragan does not automatically become the diocesan bishop.
But another kind of assistant, bishop coadjutor, less commonly used, does:
the bishop coadjutor is thus a sort of pre-elected diocesan bishop in
waiting. There are also explicit “assistant bishops” and “assisting
bishops,” though they are, I think, even less common, and, while again able
to do typical episcopal things, they typically have even more restricted
fields of activity, I think, Assisting Bishops typically being just
temporary positions (though permanently bishops); I believe it is not
uncommon for a retired bishop to serve as an Assisting Bishop for some
specific purpose or other.

I’m guessing you remember Barbara Harris. She was Suffragan Bishop of
Massachusetts, while first David Johnson and then Tom Shaw were the
diocesan bishop. She was subsequently Assisting Bishop of Washington (DC)
for a few years.

I don’t know what it’s like these days, but when I lived there the
Massachusetts diocese typically had one or two suffragan bishops in
addition to the diocesan bishop. Largely because of Cape Code, I think,
Massachusetts also had more than its fair share of retired bishops (of any
adjective), frequently from elsewhere, who are nonetheless still bishops
and often ran around helping out, typically on Sundays. In fact, Otis
Charles, the former bishop of Utah†, whom I knew reasonably well, moved to
Massachusetts to be Dean of Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge (EDS has
since moved to New York, though). Otis (died a decade ago) was quite an
engaging, colorful character, about whom I can tell some stories. While it
never came to fruition he was for a time reasonably interested in somehow
getting change ringing bells into the diocese of Utah, largely as he saw
them as a healthy social activity.

† I don’t know what the situation is today, but when I lived in Utah the
entire state supposedly had fewer Episcopalian churches than did the

Don Morrison dfm ringing org <http://mailto:dfm ringing org>
“Bishops move diagonally. That’s why they often turn up where the
kings don’t expect them to be.” – Terry Pratchett, *Small Gods*
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